As the editor of Tom's Guide, I need to know how well our articles are doing traffic-wise. And I almost spit out my Snapple when I looked at the numbers for a recent tutorial we published on how to close apps on the iPhone X.
It's by far the most successful how-to we've done for a phone — at least out of the gate. And that's actually a problem for Apple.
Why do people need to research how to do something that should be so simple on a new, $1,000 flagship phone?
To be fair, there was bound to be a learning curve with the iPhone X, as Apple decided to ditch the Home button. With an edge-to-edge display, the iPhone X introduces Face ID for unlocking the phone, plus a new series of gestures to navigate.
This includes swiping up from the bottom of the screen to close apps, and Apple wisely chose to include a little bar at the bottom of the display as a subtle cue. This bar also appears when the screen is in landscape mode. It's a nice little guide, but after my first week with the phone, I wished I could make the bar go away.
The real issue is force quitting apps, something that used to be as simple as double pressing the Home button and simply swiping up on the app you wanted to banish.
The new way involves an extra step and more time. Now, to force quit an app, you need to swipe your finger up from the bottom of the screen and briefly pause your finger on the display to summon the deck of apps, called the App Switcher. So that adds a bit of lag where there was zero before.
From there, you might think that you would just swipe up on an app thumbnail to make it disappear. Nuh-uh. You need to press and hold on the screen until little minus signs appear on the apps. Then, you can finally swipe up on the apps to force quit them, or if you prefer, tap on the small minus icons themselves.
Now, I know why Apple made this decision. The company didn't want people to accidentally quit apps they didn't mean to close. After all, you swipe up to enter the App Switcher, and you could easily just keep swiping up. But the worst-case scenario is that you close an app you didn't mean to close. So what?
I assume that once folks closed one or two apps inadvertently, they would learn not to keep swiping up. Pressing and holding the display just seems like a needless extra step.
The good news is that iOS is so efficient, and the A11 Bionic chip in the iPhone X so powerful, that you won't need to force quit apps often. There's also plenty of RAM on board; it's 3GB, according to iPhone X teardowns. But If I were Apple, I would still change the default behavior so that you could just keep swiping up to banish an app.
I'll be looking for that capability in iOS 11.3, even if it means less traffic for us here at Tom's Guide.